WNBA

Upsets Already Abound in College Hoops

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The women’s college basketball season is underway and has not disappointed so far. There have already been a few upsets and stand-out performances. Some of the top teams scheduled tougher non-conference schedules this year, which has led to some early chaos. Let’s take a look at some of the upsets so far.

#25 Texas defeats #3 Stanford

This was the upset with the most national implications. The Longhorns upset the defending national champion Cardinal 61-56. Rory Harmon had 21 for Texas, but Aliyah Matharu was the catalyst in the fourth quarter. She had 17 points and was great defensively. Vic Schaefer is known for his stingy defenses at Mississippi State and now brings the same to Texas. (It should be noted that Texas has since suffered a tough loss to Tennessee).

For Stanford, who shot just 4-27 from deep, they had trouble handling ball pressure. The loss of their point guard and leading scorer Kiana Williams was evident in this one as Haley Jones, the 2021 NCAA Tournament MVP, was at times playing out of her natural position, and being asked to facilitate. This might have been an early-season wake-up call that they needed. It may also cause graduate transfer Jordan Hamilton to get more playing time.

UPDATE:  Stanford has since also been upset by #23 South Florida but upset #4 Indiana and #2 Maryland themselves. Its hard to gauge where they are but they seem to headed in more positive direction.

#22 Arizona defeats #6 Louisville

This is likely more of an upset on paper than in reality. After all, the Wildcats did make it to the NCAA finals back in April. But, it’s a key win for a team that lost its primary scorer, Aari McDonald. Cate Reese led the team with 21 points and Bendu Yeaney hit some big shots in overtime.

The Cardinals lost their best player as well in Dana Evans. Now that designation lands on the shoulders of sophomore Haley Van Lith, who came alive in the second half and hit a pair of free throws to force overtime. But in the extra frame, Wildcats center Lauren Ware got a piece of her shot at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 61-59 win.

Belmont defeats Ole Miss

Belmont is a perennial NCAA tournament team so this isn’t as shocking as it might seem at first. What was shocking though was how well they defended Ole Miss Rebels star Shakira Austin. She was held to just five points, and Ole Miss was held to just three points in the first quarter.

On the other side, Destinee Littleton had an excellent game for the Bruins, notching 21 points and six assists. The ball movement by Belmont in this one was a sight to see. For a well-coached Ole Miss team that picked to finish in the top half of the SEC, this was disappointing.

Notre Dame defeats #16 Oregon State

Could this be the week Notre Dame enters the AP top #25? After narrowly losing to Georgia in overtime, the Fighting Irish had a convincing lead over the Beavers for most of the game. Ultimately, they only won by two due to some late game execution problems that also plagued them against Georgia. Nonetheless, Coach Ivey’s team seems to be headed in the right direction as they hope to become a contender again after two disappointing seasons.

South Dakota State defeats #15 UCLA

UCLA hasn’t had the start to the season that they would have hoped, partly due to an injury to Charisma Osborne. Osbourne played against South Dakota State but they Bruins fell short 76-66. The Jackrabbits, who have made consistently deep runs in the NCAA tournament, used a total team effort in this one.

Missouri State defeats #24 Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley has been on a tear to start the season. However, the wave the Hokies were riding came to a halt against Missouri State. The Tigers made it all the way to the sweet sixteen last year before facing eventual National Champion Stanford. Coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton has already established herself as rising star. Missouri State led throughout and won this one 76-68

Others

There have been other important upsets this season. BYU deserves credit for going undefeated thus far this season, with one of those wins coming against #22 West Virginia. Tennessee, led by Jordan Horston, has gone undefeated in Rae Burrell’s absence. They have impressive wins over South Florida, Texas, and Kansas. For smaller schools, Georgia Southern notched their first ever SEC win against Auburn and Towson defeated Florida. Florida Gulf Coast defeated LSU, but its questionable if its an upset because they may be a better overall team. Their star Kierstan Bell deserves more national attention. On a marginal scale, NC State beat Maryland, and Maryland beat Baylor.

About Tiffany Stegall

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